FORT WORTH, Texas–ILTexas hosted its first Leadership Speaker Series of the 2022-23 school year at ILTexas Keller-Saginaw High School (KSHS), featuring United States Ambassador Liliana Ayalde. Ambassador Ayalde is the former US Ambassador to Brazil and previously served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary (DAS) for the United States Department of State. 

Ambassador Ayalde toured ILTexas Keller-K8 before the event. During this time, she received the opportunity to visit Spanish and Chinese language classes, in addition to meeting the principal.

ILTexas KSHS students and staff filled the gymnasium for the event with students from all ILTexas high schools tuning in virtually. 

Ambassador Ayalde spoke to the audience about her time as the Deputy Assistant Director and the leadership lessons she’s learned throughout her career. 

“In order to succeed, you need to like what you’re doing,” she told the audience. “You need to have a passion for what you’re doing.”

Ambassador Ayalde at ILTexas Keller-Saginaw High School and Keller K-8.

Ayalde also acknowledged Hispanic Heritage Month and stated how proud she was of her background. 

“It’s a real occasion to celebrate the heritage we bring to this country. The diversity we bring to this country,” she said. “As a Hispanic myself, I’m very happy to be part of the program today in the context of Hispanic Heritage Month.”

Students from the audience also had the opportunity to ask the ambassador questions and chat with her after the event. 

For Jie Cheong, a junior at ILTexas Garland High School who served as one of the student ambassadors for the event, Ayalde’s message gave her a new perspective on leadership.

“The most impressive part of the message was everyone can be a leader,” she said. “There's  a born leader and learned leader, but we can still learn.”

*The Leadership Speaker Series is an ILTexas student-run production.

Learn more about the Leadership Speaker Series and other featured guests here.